Listening to Phil McKinney's fantastic Killer Innovation podcast a while back, i picked up a great idea on how to use contracts to block patent trolls.
Patent trolls add no value and offer no innovation to society, and it won't surprise you to know that many patent trolls are attorneys. Patent trolls acquire the rights to patents and take advantage of the intellectual property laws to sue companies that they believe, rightly or wrongly, may be infringing on the patent. The companies sued are faced with the choice to pay to settle the patent infringement lawsuit because defending this kind of case can be more costly than settling the case. Patent trolls can especially wreck havoc on the small to midsize business market, and this is where a lot of the new jobs are created.
Sellers of patents who want to block the patent trolls should adopt a policy that requires all contracts for the sale of patents to include language prohibiting the purchasing company, and its successors and assigns, from using the patent in offensive or pro-active patent litigation. This policy will instantly make the patent unattractive to the patent trolls.
Great idea, Phil McKinney, and I highly recommend the Killer Innovation podcast to everyone in business.
Mark D. Walters